I couldn’t wait to get up and get the day started, so at 5am I was out of bed and getting ready to head to Mount Takao. I took about two hours fifteen minutes starting from Akihabara Station to get to Takaosanguchi Station. I remember having read somewhere that Japanese people don’t usually eat on trains, so I refrained from taking out the breakfast (aka onigiri) I had packed and looked out the window. The view and my attempts at subtle people watching kept me entertained most of the way, and since it was still early I had no problem finding a seat the whole way.
A group of older ladies were apparently surprised to see me in the bathroom and finally gathered the courage to ask me ‘onna desu ka?’ (are you a woman?) after a few indiscrete glances and whispers. I guess my short hair confused them, but we all laughed once I confirmed I was in the right bathroom. I said goodbye to the bathroom ladies as they headed up trail 1, while I took a turn for trail 6. Although trail 1 is most popular, I wanted to see the cave where Kôbo Daishi once cured a woman and the Biwa Waterfall. Both turned out to be very small landmarks and hardly worth mentioning, but walking along the river was nice.
It took me about an hour and a half to get to the top. It’s an easy climb, the only tiring bit were the stairs close to the top. There’s a seating area at the top of the stairs, where I sat and emptied half of my water bottle. I nearly walked into a spiderweb with a giant spider right in the middle. A scary looking spider, might I say, compared to the ones I’ve seen in Spain, so I was slightly paranoid for the rest of the walk. I think that spider is what I most remember from my day in Mount Takao.
Luckily it didn’t rain during my hike, but the sky was very cloudy so I didn’t see Mount Fuji. Around 9:30am once I arrived to the top, I was the first foreigner of the day. A few people even congratulated me once I arrived. I found a seating area to rest and eat my intended lunch, although it would be more appropriate to call it breakfast, while I looked out at the surrounding mountains.
I wanted to head down Inariyama trail because I hadn’t yet seen any Inari shrines, but I took a wrong turn and accidentally went back down trail 6. Those of you who want to go down Inariyama trail remember: it’s the right turn! The walk down took me about 45 minutes.
I think the town at the base of Mount Takao is worth a stroll if you’re not in a hurry. I found out not long ago that there’s a museum close by too.
Have you been to Mount Takao? I’d love to hear about your trip, especially if you took a different trail!